Nursing student alleges discrimination - page 4

This is very sad as we really need more Chinese speaking nurses here. What is even sadder is that as an immigrant, I am all to familiar with the xenophobia here in NZ. English is my first language... Read More

  1. by   ANnot4me
    We studied until our faces fell off. Needless to say, I love people who stack all the chips against me. I needed only a 68% to keep my average. I scored a 98.9%. When I saw my score, I cried. All 352 questions! That teacher came over to me and put her hand on my back to console me and said "You can always re-apply next year". In my southern accent, I looked at her and said "I wont have to, 'cause I just aced this baby!" Grabbed my coat and called my Mama!
    Good on you! This illustrates my point even further. Few people are assuming that maybe this woman is suffering discrimination. It seems most assume that she is "crying" because she is in the wrong. Maybe she is right.

    I am American and would really have a hard time were I to wind up in the hospital in rural Mississippi or Louisiana. Probably even more so than were I to have a Chinese immigrant nurse. I am just not that familiar with a strong southern accent. And please help me should I become ill in or near Glasgow... can't even begin to understand them.

    As I have said before, there are tons and tons of immigrant nurses here in this country. We have been invited here to settle because we are essential to the healthcare system. In my day to day life, I deal with people from all over the UK and some Northern English, Scottish and Welsh accents are very difficult for me. A Kiwi accent can be difficult too if they mumble and speak too quickly (many do). I also deal with white and black Africans, Indians, Germans, Fijians, Samoans, Australians, etc

    The "New Zealand First" political party that gained no seats in Parliament in the '08 election, campaigned openly about stopping the "Asian Invasion" during more than one election. The issue is real here; as an American, I know for a fact that it is real there too. So I suspect the defensiveness may be related to guilt and shame because if the accent here was Scottish, then it would be charming and the instructors ridiculous.

    I am also a nurse and I know what it can be like when an instructor takes a dislike to you. Working with a group of nurses who don't know you or like you is a nightmare too. When I originally posted this, I just assumed most would assume this woman was teeling the truth, but I guess that the context is more important than the content.

    I would guess that much of the "Flight of the Conchords" is lost in translation?
  2. by   fortune-teller
    Discrimination against certain ethnic groups is real in that part of the world! If you travel over there, you will hear all sorts of racial remarks toward the non-white populations.
  3. by   tothepointeLVN
    I am a NZer now living in the US and definately see how the prevailing culture could back it seem like they were making it impossible for her to pass. My professors in NZ were few outspoken and not at all PC. You are expected to be able to suck it up and the level of discourse is different in the workplace too. Your boss will mostly likely call you a dumbass if in fact you are at that moment. Its hard to describe but back home I felt more able to speak my mind no matter how non pc and nobody got really that upset.

    Yes there are a lot of racist comments flying round back home 99% coming out of my parents mouths most likely.

    In the US the enviroment is more welcoming and PC get I miss being able to vent.
  4. by   twow
    Quote from tothepointe
    I am a NZer now living in the US and definately see how the prevailing culture could back it seem like they were making it impossible for her to pass. My professors in NZ were few outspoken and not at all PC. You are expected to be able to suck it up and the level of discourse is different in the workplace too. Your boss will mostly likely call you a dumbass if in fact you are at that moment. Its hard to describe but back home I felt more able to speak my mind no matter how non pc and nobody got really that upset.

    Yes there are a lot of racist comments flying round back home 99% coming out of my parents mouths most likely.
    So, hypothetically speaking, if a nurse (or nursing student) were an unrelenting racist, that nurse could find refuge in NZ, where she could be openly racist because it is part of that nursing culture. Interesting.


    Quote from chigap
    So I suspect the defensiveness may be related to guilt and shame because if the accent here was Scottish, then it would be charming and the instructors ridiculous.
    I don't know about guilt and shame. But I agree that if the accent is from an acceptable minority, it is acceptable, charming, welcome. But if it is a minority for which the listener regards with hostility, then the outcome is as it is in the original post.
  5. by   Higgs
    I once worked with a chinese nurse who asked me where the ora jeweece was. After she had said it many times, I realised she was asking for the orange juice.

    Generally, no matter how good your education, or how pulsating your brain, if you're unable to communicate effectively in the language of the country you live in, then be careful where you work. God knows how this particular nurse would have got the message across to a Doc over the phone at night in an emergency.

    I don't know anything about the woman in the news story, but she should stop complaining and get her revenge by finding a better paid, more powerful job than the tutors that failed her and send them a thank you card for falling her.
    Last edit by Higgs on May 1, '09 : Reason: typos
  6. by   Honnte et Srieux
    Quote from irkedoneSN
    Having nurses from different cultural backgrounds is essential in health care.
    No it's not. Unless someone can show that another health care system with a more diverse provider mix is functioning better because of that provider mix, I find the cliches about 'cultural diversity' to be hollow and unsupportable.

    Our clients are multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and have different views about their health and well-being and different views on how to achieve and maintain their optimum health. Here in New Orleans, we have a large vietnamese-american community and as of yet very few vietnamese healthcare workers. The subtleties of any culture can not be learned, and having nurses and other members of the health care team that understand the client can only promote positive outcomes.
    Since the medicine is being practiced in New Orleans, and not in Vietnam, the only obligation that the healthcare providers have is to provide clinically appropriate care according to the laws and standards of the US. If an American goes to Vietnam, they can hardly expect to recieved 'culturally-related' US style care...unless they return to the US to get it.

    I agree that the nurse discussed by the OP should be able to be fluent in her adopted country's language, but it sounds like she is! Her accent does not effect her understanding of the language or her ability to communicate with the other team members. If she has made it to her last year of school, what is different about her now?
    I can't find it impossible that she could functionally fail her senior year in spite of passing years 1-3.
  7. by   Honnte et Srieux
    Quote from anggelgal

    p.s. i do believe racism exists i just don't make it the center of my existence
    i'm driven to say....i love that comment!
  8. by   tothepointeLVN
    [QUOTE=twow;3599747]So, hypothetically speaking, if a nurse (or nursing student) were an unrelenting racist, that nurse could find refuge in NZ, where she could be openly racist because it is part of that nursing culture. Interesting.

    I think you reading to much into my statement and hearing what you want to hear. What I said was that back home that you can feel free to speak your mind about anything and many people find that harse and it may feel someones is out to get when that is not the case.

    Yes they is a lot of racism but it manly applies to the older crowd. Again stated in my statement
  9. by   Higgs
    Since the medicine is being practiced in New Orleans, and not in Vietnam, the only obligation that the healthcare providers have is to provide clinically appropriate care according to the laws and standards of the US. If an American goes to Vietnam, they can hardly expect to recieved 'culturally-related' US style care...unless they return to the US to get it.

    Agreed. Patients say to me - 'oh we do it this way in our culture, so I expect you to do that here'...sorry bud, but we're not in your culture now...
  10. by   Higgs
    'I just want to say to those bilingual folks here that I would hope that you would be able to be a competent nurse in Mexico or Vietnam if you got your degree there and in that language.'

    Being able to pass a degree in Nusing - no matter where from - does not automatically mean that you are competent. Boy, could I tell you some stories...!
  11. by   Ellean55
    Its important in this day and age that the nursing workforce reflects the changing cultural make-up of society. We must NEVER go back especially in the United States in "deep south" where there was a lof of segregation. Thank goodness those days are over and Those southern states in the US are trying to change the image that is has, and the deep south has come along way. So lets applaud a diverse workforce that reflects modern society.
  12. by   talaxandra
    Quote from Higgs
    I once worked with a chinese nurse who asked me where the ora jeweece was. After she had said it many times, I realised she was asking for the orange juice.
    One of my recently arrived colleagues asked me if we had any more dillutinjoos.

    What now?!

    Turns out "diluting juice" is Glaswegian (or possibly Scottish) for cordial. That still cracks me up, and my reaction helped her understand why almost every patient she offered cordial to made non-commital responses.

    On a more serious note - I think it's human nature to attribute slights (perceived and actual) to prejudice, because of our ethnicity or race or size or age or height or... rather than because of something intrinsic about us. However, as a (white) friend says, if you think racism isn't alive and well it's because you haven't been the target of bigotry, or had to protect your bi-racial children from the prejudice of others.
  13. by   fmwf
    Quote from dawngloves
    She may be able to understand english very well.Her nursing skills may be better than Florence Nightengale's herself. But in a field where communication is essential, if I can't understand your accent or if I misunderstand your accent, it is a huge problem. There is one nurse I loathe getting report from because I often have to ask her to repeat herself or slow down because I cannot understand her and I am not alone in that. She is a competant nurse, but I would hate to be in a code situation with her.
    Right out of nursing school, my first preceptor was a wonderful philipina who... only had a relatively moderate accent, but a hair trigger complex. I learned later (as I was leaving that floor) that she had had issues with precepting others b/c of her accent and wanted to "practice her English" by being a preceptor. Hmm. My feelings are strong about this aspect of the thread's conversation. She was quite defensive about her communications.

    Sometimes the issue was nursing education and she was guarding her right to have an accent. [Me: Did we get a nurse educator yet? She:"If you don't understand my English, why don't you just tell me."] She was hypervigilant to prove that she was a good preceptor and I well, was a learner. It was difficult to ask her informed (higher level) questions. If there was a concept (let's say about achieving pain control in end of life care)that I needed more discussion on, she would just repeat herself. As I write this, these issues (hypervigilance, defensiveness) are possible with any preceptor though.

    In the whole exchange, if I had to do it again, would have very simply and quickly said, "Can I have another preceptor?" instead of accomodating--not her accent--but her complex. This entrance truly had an effect on my nursing career (this person has to actually evaluate YOU). Those conversations have even more strain than the original interactions.

    But all-in-all I think open and honest forum for language differences can be handled diplomatically, not with long handled spoon. This engenders fear and resentment.
    Last edit by fmwf on May 1, '09 : Reason: Grammar ;)

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